Second Round, 52nd Pick
Jamie Collins may have played on a 0-12 team in 2012, but his story will go to show that if you're good enough to play, then you'll get a shot in the NFL. Collins showed last season that he's more than capable of making plays at outside linebacker by finishing the season with 92 tackles, with 20 tackles being for loss, along with 10 sacks and four forced fumbles.
Let's take a closer look at how Collins' skills translate to the NFL.
+ Prototypical size and frame for outside linebacker
+ Good closing speed
+ Sound tackler
- Run defense
- Needs to develop more pass-rushing moves, currently limited
- Physicality when engaged with blocker
Collins has the physical tools to be a starting outside linebacker in the NFL. At 6'3", 250 pounds, he possesses the speed and agility to cover backs and tight ends. He's got a long, lean frame that you normally associate with rush linebackers in the NFL. He's a converted safety, so he's used to being out in space, although he wasn't asked to drop in coverage often last season.
Collins is solid at the point of contact and uses his frame well in driving through ball-carriers inside the box or out on the edge.
Collins played safety, linebacker and the "bandit," or rush linebacker, positions during his time at Southern Mississippi.
Collins' motor runs hot and cold throughout a game, and his effort can be questioned at times. His offense never seemed to do him or his defensive teammates any favors by keeping them out on the field. Either way, Collins took plays off, and it was pretty apparent at times.
He was named to the Athletic Director's honor roll during his junior season.
Collins was used as a stand-up rush linebacker coming off the edge as Southern Mississippi's bandit player. He also put his hand in the dirt in a three-point stance as well.
Collins wasn't asked to drop into coverage often, but his experience as a defensive back is evident when you watch him move around out in space.
Collins looks smooth when he's asked to drop in coverage. He has the prototypical size for an outside linebacker and shows surprisingly fluid hips for a player who's around 250 pounds.
He has the change-of-direction agility to match up with tight ends across the middle or covering backs out of the backfield. He doesn't possess elite burst when coming out of his breaks, so he's limited in the routes and areas that he can cover on the field. He's much better in short areas where he can keep the plays in front of him.
Collins will get a chance with an NFL team because of hopes that he can develop as a pass-rusher. He doesn't display a great first step off the line of scrimmage, but he does have good closing speed and the athletic ability to chase down a play outside the pocket.
He doesn't show a lot of pass-rush moves, and it's something he's really going to need to work on before he can be a big-time contributor at the NFL level. He has gotten away with using his athleticism to get around a blocker, but isn't overly impressive getting off blocks and can be beaten by bigger, stronger players who can get their hands on him.
He uses his length to make up for his non-elite burst in changing directions and does a very good job of bringing down players behind the line of scrimmage. He was a difference-maker who has high-reward potential.
Against the run
Collins is really going to have to work on his ability to stack and shed blocks inside the box if he's going to want to be anything more than a situational pass-rusher. He'll use his quickness and hands to quickly get off initial attempts at blocking him, but once he's engaged with a blocker, he really struggles to shed and not get driven down the field.
He needs to do a better job with leverage at the point of attack and getting his lower half involved in holding his ground against the run.
Collins shows the quickness to chase down plays from the backside when he's not taking that play off. He'll show an inconsistent motor, but in his defense, the defense was always on the field and the entire team looked pretty worn out toward the end of many drives and games.
Collins is a sound tackler who doesn't shy away from contact. He's physical through the point of contact but will sometimes go for the big hit leading with his shoulder and not properly wrap up the ball-carrier. This led to some missed tackles down the field and out in space.
When he's coming downhill on a running back or getting after a quarterback behind the line of scrimmage, Collins shows a great ability not to let that player get past him. He's got a knack for making big plays for his defense.
Use of hands
Collins needs to get better at using his hands inside the box in run defense by disengaging blockers. It's not just his hands that need to improve, but they're part of the deal. For Collins to make an impact with an NFL team in the immediate future, and even down the road, he's going to have to learn to play better against the run. A lot of that will be determined by how well he uses his hands.
Collins has the athletic fluidity and strength to be a good developmental pass-rusher in a 3-4 defense. If he can improve his hands in both shedding blocks in run defense and getting off blocks and getting downhill in rushing the passer, then he's got a really good chance at making an impact early in his career.
Collins looks to be a stand-up outside linebacker for a 3-4 defense in the NFL. He's got the long lean frame that allows him to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He uses that size to his advantage and should really benefit from taking a few years to develop the rest of his game. He should be able to contribute right away on special teams and be ready in situational pass-rushing duties early in his career.
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